With schools starting to reopen we know this may be a concern for some of our members. In order to support members, UNISON has produced the new materials below, including an important new joint union guide for vulnerable staff.
Risk assessments are a number one priority. Before staff return to work, schools must update and make their risk assessment available, set aside time before pupils return to go through it with all staff, and provide any training that’s required.
We urge you to ask your Head Teachers for a copy of the risk assessment.
The joint unions do not accept the DfE’s position that all vulnerable employees can attend school from September. Under the DfE guidance, little PPE would be provided and social distancing would be very difficult. As a result, schools and colleges will have fewer protective measures in place to reduce the spread of COVID-19 than most other workplaces. Staff who are medically vulnerable or otherwise at higher risk will still therefore be at a greater risk if they contract the virus.
Our joint union guidance therefore calls for ‘Clinically Extremely Vulnerable’ (CEV) employees to be able to work from home from September if they choose to.
In relation to all other vulnerable and at risk groups, we would like schools to undertake individual risk assessments to consider the range of measures needed to protect each individual, and for consideration of home working in these cases.
The guide covers:
- Extremely clinically vulnerable staff
- Clinically vulnerable staff
- Pregnant staff or new mothers
- Older or male staff
- Overweight staff
- Black staff
- Disabled staff
- Staff living with or caring for a family member who is medically vulnerable or at higher risk
- Staff who are otherwise anxious about returning to work and mental health considerations
UNISON has written a brand new set of FAQs for members so they know where they stand (and where UNISON stands) on a range of issues, including face coverings, cleaning, social distancing, childcare, cover supervision and lots more.
They cover all school settings: primaries, secondaries, special schools, nursery schools and early years.